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Global Calls For Calm As Colombia Deploys ‘Excessive Force’

The international community on Tuesday accused the United Nations of describing “use of excessive force” by Colombian guards after numerous deaths during the days of anti-government protests.

The United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and rights groups joined the chorus of criticism after official data showed that clashes with security forces killed 19 people and injured 846.

The Colombian human rights ombudsman, a state agency independent of the government, said 89 people were described as “disappeared.”





Demonstrators clash with police in Bogotá on April 28, 2021
AFP / Raul ARBOLEDA

Tens of thousands of Colombians went to the streets in a demonstration that began last Wednesday in opposition to the proposed tax reform, but then turned into a broader protest against President Ivan Duque’s government.

On Tuesday, protesters blocked roads in some parts of the country, in line with new demonstrations in the capital Bogotá and Cali in the western part of the country.

Cali, Colombia’s third-largest city and most affected by ongoing unrest, has been patroled by soldiers on government orders since last Friday.

The Ministry of Defense has assigned 47,500 uniformed personnel nationwide. In Cali alone, 700 soldiers, 500 MTFs, 1,800 other police, and two helicopters are in operation.



Riot police passed military tanks on the outskirts of Bogotá on May 4, 2021


Riot police passed military tanks on the outskirts of Bogotá on May 4, 2021
AFP / Danielm Ounce

The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed a “serious shock” in an overnight incident in Cali on Tuesday. In this case, police reportedly “fired” on demonstrators and killed several people.

“We can clearly say that we have been reported and have witnesses of excessive use of force by guards, shooting, use of live ammunition, demonstrators beatings, and even detention,” said a spokeswoman. Marta Hartado told reporters. In Geneva.



Riot police clash with demonstrators in Medellín on April 28, 2021


Riot police clash with demonstrators in Medellín on April 28, 2021
AFP / JOAQUIN SARMIENTO

The ombudsman Carlos Camargo was a member of his office, a representative of the Attorney General tasked with investigating official fraud, and three while assisting detainees in Cali on Monday night. Human rights activists said they had been attacked by the public army.

The five were “threatening fires in the air and on the floor, throwing stun grenades, exposed to verbal abuse, and threatened by national police officers who demanded they leave,” he said.

Local security officials said five people were killed and 33 were injured overnight in Cali.

On Tuesday, the blockade of highways in the Cali region delayed the delivery of gasoline, raising concerns about the fate of trucks transporting oxygen and medicines during a coronavirus pandemic.



Demonstrators clash with riots outside the home of Colombian President Ivanduke in Bogotá on May 1, 2021


Demonstrators clash with riots outside the home of Colombian President Ivan Duque in Bogotá on May 1, 2021
AFP / Juan Barreto

The United Nations sought calm ahead of a new rally scheduled for Wednesday, saying security forces should only use guns as a last resort in the face of an imminent threat of death or serious injury.

The European Union has also accused the reported deaths-18 civilians and police officers nationwide so far.

Duque’s government has officially acknowledged the deaths of one civilian and one police officer, accusing violence organized by armed groups operating in the country.

According to Defense Minister Diego Morano, the violence was “organized, planned, and funded by criminal gangs.”

“Our public authority must be ruthless to those who use vandalism,” the minister warned.

EU spokesman Peter Stano said it was a priority to stop the spread of violence and avoid the disproportionate use of force by security forces.

And Jarina Porter, a deputy spokesman for the US State Department, emphasized the right of all to peacefully protest.

“Violence and vandalism are abuses of that right. At the same time, we urge maximum control by public authority to prevent further loss of life,” she said.

Amnesty International called for “repression of protests and the end of urban militarization” on Tuesday.

Anti-government protests, boosted by the global health crisis, come at a time of financial despair for many.

Colombia’s GDP shrank 6.8% in 2020 with the worst performance in half a century, with unemployment at 16.8% in March.

According to official figures, almost half of the population lives in poverty.

Authorities warned that protests could cause an increase in coronavirus infections, even though the country’s hospital system is already on the verge of collapse.



Global Calls For Calm As Colombia Deploys ‘Excessive Force’ Source link Global Calls For Calm As Colombia Deploys ‘Excessive Force’

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